Faezeh Hashemi, a political activist currently imprisoned in Tehran’s Evin prison, has urged reformists in Iran and all those "dedicated to preserving the system" not to participate in elections.
When "authoritarians justify their existence and function by changing, distorting and interpreting words, they render laws and institutions ineffective and they reinforce lies; dictatorships are dressed in the glorious garment of the law," she wrote in a letter seen by IranWire.
Dictatorial systems call themselves "people's governments" and refer to "symbolic elections" as the "highest form of democracy," the activist said, adding that such systems continue as long as "the people and especially the elite are willing to live with lies."
“If we didn’t let the gangs’ and personal interests prevail over national interests, the dictators would have a hard time maintaining their power," she emphasized.
“If we break our spell and don’t participate in elections, we can make the rulers’ path difficult by spreading the truth and force them to change policies…and finally take back the power we have given them.”
The Islamic Republic is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections in March 2024.
Hashemi, who openly criticized the policies of the Islamic Republic in the past, is the daughter of late President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
She was arrested in September 2022, early after the start of nationwide protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody.
The activist was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “disturbing public order and peace by participating in illegal gatherings.”